The aim of the course is to help both the beginner and the more advanced writer to develop and improve their writing skills in a range of different areas, including short story writing, poetry, playwriting, structural planning and writing of a novel.
Varied exercises and stimuli will be used to aid the creative process, helping learners to build on imaginative ideas and to discover new approaches to their work.
This experience is for adults aged 19+.
There are no formal entry requirements - all you need is enthusiasm and a keen interest in literature!
Week 1 – Getting Started – the need/inspiration to write. An introductory session, enabling students to get to know each other, and their individual writing needs and interests, as they start to share their work within a workshop environment.
‘Playing with ideas’ – looking at the ideas and themes that inspire us, and how to begin to select those we wish to develop further, while also considering the required passion for the ‘subject’ which is necessary to carry us through and to bring the ‘story’ to life.
Week 2 – ‘The Importance of a Good Lead’ – looking at the importance of the ‘lead’ character(s) within a piece of literary work, and those characters who have remained the most constant in our memories and in literary culture. You will consider the importance of creating a ‘realistic/believable’ character, and the importance of achieving this both in dialogue and description.
Week 3 – ‘The Importance of a ‘Good Start’ - The importance of the ‘start’ of a novel, and looking at what makes us want to ‘read on’. How long do we give a piece of work before we ‘give up’, and is description/dialogue or reflection the most important hook for the opening lines? We will consider our own favourite pieces of work, and compare the essential ingredients involved against our own.
Week 4 – ‘Short and Sweet’ – looking at what ‘makes’ a successful short story, and the similarities and differences which can be seen against approaching the writing of a full-length novel. Information will be given on a variety of short story competitions, for those who are interested in submitting work.
Week 5 – ‘Flash Fiction’ and ‘The Mini-Saga’ – Maxi to Mini – taking ‘big ideas’ and the art of making them into small ‘masterpieces’. We will use these shorter writing styles to help to focus and structure our ideas, and to highlight the key themes and intentions of our work.
Week 6 – ‘The Economy of Poetry’ - looking at the art of poetry, and how it can also work to help develop other forms of writing, and to enable writers to see ways of economising on longer unnecessary pieces of text. We also explore how poetry can be used in its complete form within an alternative form of writing.
Week 7 - ‘Having a Plan’ - looking at the importance of creating a well-constructed outline for your work, and the emotional journey of your characters. The session will also include looking at the art of creating a well-defined synopsis and treatment, which will help promote your work.
Week 8 – ‘The Play’s The Thing’ - considering an alternative approach in ‘delivering’ a story through the art of playwriting, and the world of ‘dialogue’ and stage direction. We will look at when a story may work ‘better’ as a play, and consider this form of writing as a living and collaborative experience between writers, directors and actors.
Week 9 – ‘The Play for Today’ – considering the contemporary play, and what new writing theatres/companies are looking for, from short festival plays to full length scripts. We will look at the choices of settings/backdrops, and the benefits of keeping to a small cast.
Week 10 – ‘The Art of Redrafting’ - the End is just the Beginning – The final session of the term will be dedicated to redrafting in a variety of literary areas and its primary role in creating a successful piece of work. We will learn how to ‘let go’ of parts that aren’t as ‘necessary’ as we first thought, and which have no benefit in moving the story on either descriptively or emotionally.
*Please note, the course content is developed each term as such, the content may differ throughout the year. Please contact Learning for Leisure with any questions concerning this.
You will workshop your writing with other members of the group and receive and supply constructive, kind notes for improvement. You may submit writing for the workshop sessions anonymously if you so wish.
You just need pen and paper or a laptop.
Further creative writing and play-writing courses are to be announced.
Aero-engine worker Jamie Quince-Starkey used creative writing skills learned at Derby College to create a pilot documentary about his ambitious city environment project.
Rolls-Royce employee Jamie, 26, who was brought up in Allestree, founded The Down to Earth Project as a result of the conflict he felt between his job and the natural world. He had also always had a love for reading, writing and story-telling.
Jamie enrolled for creative writing evening classes at the Roundhouse to “get back into learning things” and to develop his ideas. He found the course gave him the toolkit to plan out a pilot film documenting The Down to Earth Project.
It was screened at the Quad venue in front of an audience of 150 people, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Derby. The pilot documents the community aspects of the project’s allotment off Markeaton Street. Jamie said he launched the project to help people reconnect with the natural world.
He created the pilot with the help of (Nottingham Trent University) photography student Jason Sheehan and other volunteers. Jamie feels the documentary fills a community niche missed by major documentaries.
Now he hopes to create a series of documentaries about the project and pitch them to TV, or to run them online as a webseries.
I was so happy how the pilot went at Quad: people I knew from school in Allestree bought tickets and said they wanted to get an allotment. Derby College helped 100 per cent. It doesn’t matter what it is: it could be a book, or a movie or a documentary, there’s always a story being told and a way to get it across. The course taught me how to approach the planning and writing. It’s a buzz when you find you have a creative side. I’d recommend it highly.
Without the support of Derby College, and the support of my lecturer Tina Jay, I don’t think I’d be at the point that I am with The Down to Earth Project.